Saturday, May 31, 2014


NOTE: I will return to my series on why abbreviated training fails (because believe me, there are a lot of reasons) momentarily, but this is one of my pet peeves and I can’t take it any more.

In lifting, we constantly see trainees utilizing the success of others as a means to justify their own training method.  Whenever these people are called out about their training, their answers are always the same.

“Why don’t you ask Louie Simmons if conjugate periodization is effective?”
“Why don’t you ask Dan Green if raw squats bring up powerlifting squats?”
“Why don’t you ask the Bulgarians if high frequency training is possible?”

"Why don't you ask Kobayashi if eating 40 hot dogs in under a minute is good on a cut?" 

Why do people employ this name dropping?  Because their own results are so pathetic and without merit that they do not in fact support the effectiveness of their training, and as such, when called out for their own lack of progress, they must turn outward.

Having to tell people to witness the cases of other trainees to validate your own approach means you are in no place to argue about the effectiveness of your method.  An inability to be able to say “My training works, because look at my results” is an inability to know if your training actually does or does not work.  All of this name dropping is at best hero worship, because anyone claiming to know 100% of how a person trains is a liar.

"Dude, I read the book.  Dude took no steroids, drank beer instead of milk, and smoked pot.  I can do this!"

The whole idea that we can use a principle because someone other than us uses it and it works for them is just asinine.  This type of “logic” fails to take into account that variables in training do not exist in a vacuum, and are instead all part of a complex and entirely co-dependent system.  A successful lifter could use the Cube (for the sake of argument) as their training system, however what we ignore is that this lifter also has their nutrition dialed in, sleeps 8 hours a night, has a low stress job, no family obligations, performs conditioning everyday, uses steroids, spent the first 14 years of their life training in a Soviet camp for gifted athletes, and was born with a third testicle.  To simply try to take one isolated variable from this trainee and apply it to our own unique situation under the belief that it will be just as effective for us as it was for them is the height of foolishness.  At best, we can identify that a method works for someone in some capacity, but to think it will automatically work for us due to this evidence is denial.

Additionally, if your results are so lackluster that you are embarrassed to use yourself as an example, why are you even debating in the first place?  The best revenge is living well, and the best argument for the effectiveness of your method is to have it be effective.  Successful lifters don’t tear down other programs based off something they read on pubmed, they simply act as living proof that they know how to get big and strong.  Keyboard warriors have to refute all attacks on their method, because they have to justify to themselves that they have made the correct decision, and lacking the body of evidence (pun partially intended) of being big and strong themselves, they have to turn to others.  If your method is truly effective, and you know it through your own experience, you will find that there is no need to debate.  The sheer notion anyone has that your method is ineffective will appear merely comical, as someone attempting to refute the existence of the sun.  You will see them not as a challenge to your success, but merely as misled at best, and insignificant in many cases.

"Look, I know you've read a lot on sumo, but I don't think you have it all figured out yet"

This is why, whenever met with the response of “Why don’t you ask so-and-so why they do this”, I always say the same thing; I know why those people use their methods, it’s because they work.  What I want to know is, how come YOU use that method, because clearly, it’s not working.


  1. This reminds me of a hilariously stupid post by a certain bald headed internet famous powerlifter who advocated training 3x a week because it's what Stan Efferding used at the tail end of his 20+ career to hit the 275 total record. Or just about every article every written about any technique that drudges up proof that Arnold did it once and therefore you should too.

    1. Don't get me wrong, I think there is a ton to learn from the examples of others (reference my post on "We need a hero"). My only issue here is when people use these examples to defend their point, rather than to reference it.

      I think it's a great idea to say "Paul Anderson used ROM progression" as an example of a training method that someone used that had some success with. However, to say "Of course ROM progression works, why don't you ask Paul Anderson" is to assign some sort of finality to the topic, as though there is no possibility of something NOT working.

      People can advocate any method they want, but if they refuse to use themselves as an example of success, it's probably not that effective.

  2. Yeah I totally agree, it should be like a progression. Obviously if you're in your first week of ever doing ROM progression or abbreviated training, you have to say "look I'm trusting that techniques like this work because very strong dudes have used them", but if after week 12, you've made zero gains, it doesn't really matter what the hell it does for Dave Tate or Dan Green or whoever.

  3. This is why I am so religious in my log keeping. How do I know Pavel's stuff worked in building strength? I followed his advice and kept logs. How do I know Bud Jeffries is correct in that you can add a lot of reps to kettle bell swings quickly? Tried it. logged it. How do I know the Navy advocating for speed work in the form of sprints works? Haha guess. Yep, logs!

    Well, that, and it helps to know what I need to do for the next day.